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The Key to Establishing Ironclad Remediation and Disaster Recovery Processes


To Test or Not to Test?When it comes to IT disaster recovery and remediation processes, regular testing is not a 'nice to have' - it's absolutely essential!

This isn't hyperbole on my part. You just have to look at the news on any given day. We've all heard the horror stories of organisations in both the public and private sectors experiencing prolonged downtime during disasters due to inadequate preparation, lack of testing, and the unsuitability of their legacy remediation processes and systems.

Modern organisations now face a constantly growing range of insidious, sophisticated threats, including ransomware attacks, data breaches, data kidnap, and denial-of-service incidents - all of which can result in extended downtime, financial loss, and irreparable reputational damage if not properly addressed. In spite of this, too many organisations still rely on legacy solutions that may not adequately protect against these modern risks...

And they never realise until disaster strikes! 

Next-gen threats require next-gen solutions

Put simply, traditional disaster recovery solutions - which are typically designed to mitigate risks from things such as fire, flood, electrical or hardware failure - are no longer sufficient, especially when they may have been in place for years, without proper review or testing, leaving the organisation in question vulnerable.

No matter how good a disaster recovery plan looks on paper, you need to be 100% certain that it will enable a swift and effective recovery from an IT disaster. And that means putting it through its paces through regular testing, review, and refinement. After all, it's far better to encounter any issues or gaps in your plan within a controlled testing environment than during an actual disaster!

This is a particularly important point to bear in mind… When testing disaster recovery systems and processes, encountering issues isn't a failure, as is often assumed - it's the whole point of the testing process! By identifying any gaps or unknown risks, you will be able to refine and streamline your systems and processes, ensuring a smoother recovery the next time, whether that's during the next round of test testing or a real-life disaster.

With this in mind, what does an effective testing process look like?

Test regularly, test effectively

As the first step, you must proactively assess whether your legacy remediation plans are still fit-for-purpose in the current threat landscape, and whether newly adopted services or applications require adjustments or upgrades, in order to ensure a continued swift and efficient recovery is always guaranteed. This process should then be repeated regularly, at predetermined intervals, to allow your disaster recovery and remediation processes to keep pace with your wider infrastructure's evolution.

Compliance and insurance requirements typically require regular testing of backups and recovery services, but don't assume this will cover the full range of potential security risks. While successfully demonstrating that you can restore a single file from a backup may tick a compliance box, it doesn't paint an accurate picture of your ability to execute a full recovery of critical data and infrastructure in the event of a large-scale IT outage! You need to simulate tailored, realistic disaster scenarios for your organisation, your sector, and your customers throughout each test to ensure the readiness and suitability of all current systems and processes.

Furthermore, it's essential to consider communication strategies - an aspect of effective disaster recovery and remediation that is often neglected. Internal and external communication channels need to be established well in advance, with the messaging and methods used to disseminate critical information agreed upon and (of course!) regularly tested. This must involve the entire organisation, not just the IT team. Finance, operations, marketing, HR, and IT must all work together to ensure a business-wide, co-ordinated response can be initiated during a crisis, ensuring consistent, correct messaging internally and externally.

It is a question of "WHEN" a disaster strikes, not "IF"… So, be prepared!

It's certainly a lot to consider, but as cyber-attack strategies grow more insidious and widespread with each passing day, and compliance requirements grow more complex in response, a proactive approach to remediation and disaster recovery is critical, whether you're an ambitious startup or a global leader.

If you're ready to put everything we've looked at here into practice, but require assistance with the first steps, reach out to the team at Exponential-e for expert advice, guidance, and support.

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